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Sanding...swirls, curls and headaches!
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Matt Kliethermes
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July 22, 2015 - 1:56 pm
Member Since: March 15, 2015
Forum Posts: 5
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 Hello all! I’m proud to say that I purchased the Skil random orbital sander and I had great success with my last table project. I’m still trying to get the hang of it, but I’m practicing! 

I am currently restoring a 1941 Lane cedar chest in blond wood veneers. The previous owner removed 99% of a maroon paint job with a vibrating sander ( Not random orbit) Although it did not go through the veneer, it did leave classic swirl squiggles and curl scratches in the wood.  I’ve used my new sander carefully with 120 and 220 papers and they are still visible and I need help.

I tried hand sanding (very carefully) with 100 grit and that seemed to help a bit, but I was hoping there was another approach that might work better.  The veneer would have to be VERY thin after the butchered sanding and i don’t want to go through it. There are also a few gouges I will fix and paint over with Fix and Finish.  I figure I will work my way up hand-sanding up to 220. I then plan to use a dye to pop the figured grain and then use a spitcoat of shellac to seal it before my stain and finish coat.  Will the seal coat of thinned shellac help hide any remaining squiggles? 

Are there any tips you guys can share?  Should I maybe try to fill the scratches with filler and then sand again?  Any suggestions are welcomed! THANKS! -Matt K

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Admin
July 23, 2015 - 9:22 am
Member Since: January 18, 2013
Forum Posts: 49
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Hi Matt,

It can be impossible to say for sure because I don’t know the thickness of the veneer but if the person used heavy grit garnet paper the swirls could be deep.  Personally, I would work an area by hand to see if they come out without going through the veneer.  You would be surprised how far you can sand on some of the older veneered furniture, and how little on others.  You probably have more room to sand than you think.

One thing to consider. Unless you have ALL the swirls and scratches removed, dye stain could be the wrong way to go. Yes, dye highlights the grain and gives you that pop you are looking for, but it also will highlight any and all flaws as well if applied directly to the wood.

Sometimes in a case like this I would seal the wood first with a coat of shellac, then stain.  You can also just wet it down with mineral spirits and this should show any flaws that might be highlighted by the dye.

You are on the right track my friend. Work through the steps and you’ll get it as long as you be sure not to apply stain before you know the canvas is clean 🙂

 

Good Luck !!!

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Matt Kliethermes
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July 27, 2015 - 1:53 pm
Member Since: March 15, 2015
Forum Posts: 5
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Thank youfor the tips!  I’ll start the sanding process tonight.  As you mentioned,  I hope the 1940s veneer is pretty thick!

Quick question, I was under the impression that a  NGR dye without a binder would not show scratches,  is that not the case?  I was hoping to use the dye and then seal with clear shellac before staining.  I certainly don’t want to accentuate the scratches that I can’t get out!  Thanks! 

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Admin
July 27, 2015 - 8:33 pm
Member Since: January 18, 2013
Forum Posts: 49
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What you heard is not totally accurate Matt.  If you spray on NGR stain, that is a different situation as the stain just lays on the surface and the solvents quickly evaporate.  Therefor,  what you heard can be true is certain controlled situations.  However, if you wipe on NGR stain, you will push it into all crevices and scratches will be highlighted.  The same can be said for other stains as well, but to a lessor degree. I am assuming your plan is to wipe on the dye, so I would proceed carefully.  Just be certain you have a clean canvas if you use dyes as a wipe on stain.

 

Cheers,

Rod


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Matt Kliethermes
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July 28, 2015 - 7:52 am
Member Since: March 15, 2015
Forum Posts: 5
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Thanks so much for the warning! That could have been disastrous.  On the brighter side, I began hand sanding the squiggles very carefully and the 1940s veneer is pleasantly thicker than I imagined! I even have to use 60 sand paper in a few spots for the very deep scratches.

I will skip the dye but still do a thinned spitcoat of shellac before I stain to fill in any remaining scratches.

What # cut if shellac would you suggest for this? I was thinking 1/2 # cut with light sanding, or would the light sanding defeat the purpose and make the scratches visible because they may not absorb as much stain. Thanks so much! 

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Admin
July 29, 2015 - 9:10 am
Member Since: January 18, 2013
Forum Posts: 49
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If you are spraying on the shellac, I would say 1 1/2  lb cut would be sufficient as a wash coat. Be careful to hold the gun further away from the surface than you normally would. Thinned shellac has a high tenancy to run and sag.  A couple thin coats is better than one heavier coat.

If you wipe the shellac on, than 1/2 to 1 lb cut will be perfect.

Pre mixed Bullseye shellac is on average a 3 lb cut.

 

Happy Finishing !!

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